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Break the opponent's balance before you attack

WRESTLING – I will be competing in my first takedown challenge in April 30. I have been thinking a lot about tactics. Which takedowns should I own and practice? Should I focus on offense or defense? (Offense) Should I train to be powerful, flexible, or nimble?

These seemed to be the choices to make in wrestling – to determine what type of fighter I want to be.

Then I encountered this quote.

In war, as in wrestling, the attempt to throw the opponent without loosening his foothold and upsetting his balance results in self-exhaustion, increasing in disproportionate ratio to the effective strain put upon him.

Strategy: Second Revised Edition (Meridian) by B.H. Liddell Hart

Of course! There’s a lot more to taking an opponent down than technique or power in the execution…

When you executed the takedown, did you set up your positions such that you are in a most advantageous position, and your opponent in the most disadvantageous?

The setup matters more.

It’s the same in negotiation. Sure, tactics are useful – have a set of questions to ask when the interviewer asks you “Do you have any questions for me?” Have a scripted answer for “Tell me about yourself.”

But rewards for getting those right are incremental. The 20% of inputs that bring fruit to 80% of the results happen long before you face each other in the table.

Did a friend tell his boss “You have to hire her” or were you found as just another resume in the stack? Do you have a BATNA? Are you even playing the right game? Maybe you should be doing something else other than applying for jobs.

In Judo, they have a term for this. Kuzushi. It means to break an opponent’s balance in order to minimize the effort and maximize the likelihood of taking him down.

In wrestling, in job-hunting, like in most things, the battle is won long before the attempt is made.